Paradise on earth

The more islands we visit, the more we are in love with the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia.

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Team activities, courses and guides for companies with virtual teams!

Vietnamese Art

Propaganda posters, paintings and sculptures.

Happy Wesak

Procesión budista en Malasia

On how Asia reminds me of my childhood

Flowers, construction, poorly paved roads,...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What do Only Lovers Left Alive and The Great Beauty have in common?

Tired of the unstopable references and felling like I had already seen La grande bellezza before, I decided to push myself, not to turn off the movie and find some entertainment so watching it I wrote down the similitudes between the italian movie and Only lovers left alive by Jim Jarmusch. Here we go:





The search for beauty

  •  All the characters are looking for beauty.
  • They are positive people, they realize they are surrounded by things that don't interest them but they stick to the world and enjoy what they find beautiful.
  • They are all very educaded.
  • They all adore, respect and recognize powerful art and culture.
  • They can access forbiden places.
  • They have powerful and influencial friends.
  • Death has an important role in both movies.
  • The characters share a great obsession for life and death, being beauty and pleasure the only reason they stay alive. 
  • For them the most important thing is the creation of beauty through their work or the work of other. They are all artist in search of beauty in art and they stay sane thanks to the search of beauty.

In the way they see the mundane

  • They live very far from the "zombies" (Only lovers left alive) and the "mundane" (The great beauty). Even if the main character in The great beauty says he wanted to be the king of the mundane, that was his goal at 26, now he has higher goals.
  • All the characters feel superior to the mundane.
  • None of the movies talk about what the zombies consume for art.

In the way they live

  • They live surrounded by beauty and books.
  • They live during the night, they are sticktly nocturnal.
  • They move around their cities, either walking of driving at night.
  • They live in memorable places: the Tangier forever portraited by Paul Bowles, the broken-down Rome and of course the even more decrepit Detroit, the city in ruins of a fallen empire.

 Needless to say I recommend watching Only lovers left alive and any movie by Fellini.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Female roles: Lana del Rey and Maleficent

Recently I saw Lana del Rey live and I got very upset with the way she was portraying herself as a woman. I would like to talk about her role opposed to the one played by Angelina Jolie in Maleficent.

You might say that I shouldn't compare a real person with a Disney character. After seeing del Rey's show I can say that she is an invented product, as much as Maleficent. The images projected during the show, the good looking band members, the omniprensence of the american flag and the thousands of teenagers singing her name allows me to treat them as fictional characters.
That being said, lets see what a Femme Fatale is according to  Film Noir Studies: "The femme fatale represents the most direct attack on traditional womanhood and the nuclear family. She refuses to play the role of devoted wife and loving mother that mainstream society prescribes for women. She finds marriage to be confining, loveless, sexless, and dull, and she uses all of her cunning and sexual attractiveness
to gain her independence."

Poor little rich girl

In Lana del Rey I saw a young woman in the 1950s that just got married, a little bit of a caricature of the lady in The bridges of Madison County. A woman that is beautiful and has followed what society was expecting and now is not happy. Like a good Femme Fatale she doesn't want to play the role of devoted wife and loving mother but Lana doesn't have enough skills to fight that properly, at least not yet. So she just sits at home, smokes, swears and paints her nails red to mean "Danger". Cry wolf. Perro ladrador, poco mordedor.

She portraits herself as a stupid woman, most of the lyrics of her album "Born to die" refer to a man, either describing him or begging him for something. "Everytime I close my eyes / It's like a dark paradise / No one compares to you / I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side". She presents her character like a helpless, submissive and careless woman, a female that is trapped inside the American Dream, a victim with no skills, intelligence or will to exit that situation.

A powerful woman

On the other hand Maleficent is an intelligent, courageous and powerful woman. A woman that is strong and defends her world against the enemies. Maleficent has no problem living without the man she loves. Like Lana del Rey she also has long nails, but hers have a clear color, she doesn't need her nails to pretend, they don't represent her, she can use her hands to act and doesn't need to paint them every day. Maleficient has red sensual lips like Lana del Rey but she uses them to communicate, to learn, to make mistakes and to grow.

Maleficent is a real victim, her wings were cut off but she doesn't act like a victim, she is a warrior. She is in a true cage because she cannot fly but she find other ways to move around and act. Maleficent is action, Lana is passivity.

Maleficent doesn't need to be a femme fatale, she is so beyond that point that it wouldn't make sense for her to be upset or attack what the tradition stated. She is so confident that instead of crying and swearing, she wants to built, she wants to forgive and she wants to fight for what she things is the right thing. The femme fatale makes no sense anymore!

After reading this post, you can imagine my surprise when I heard Lana del Rey sing the song during the credits! :-D I hope Lana del Rey will surprise us and in the future will leave this outdated role and present herself as an intelligent and powerful woman that I am sure she is!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Walking around a city during summer nights

Pepa in Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown has insomnia and she walks the deserted streets of Madrid during the month of August looking at the people inside their flats, imagining their lives and trying to find answers to her situation.

Jep in La grande bellezza spends his nights listening to Rome sing to him and reminding him why he lives there and why she is beautiful.

There are many movies where the main character spends the night walking in a deserted and this is one of my favourite activities to do during the summer, I love walking late at night looking through the open windows, listen to the loud TV, love talks or angry arguments. Can you think of other movies where the main character walks around the city at night with no particular direction? Help me made the list!